Laura Forrest talks about fourth year

A day in the life

Laura Forrest talks about fourth year

Laura Forrest_Biology_36046 (214x214)

Halifax is beautiful, and Dalhousie itself has a history. The Biology program is world-renowned and well established, and offers many interesting classes. And I discovered the faculty is quite cool—they’ll go out of their way to help you.

Cell biology is cool

If doing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a Combined Honours in Biology and French requires switching from right to left areas of her brain, fourth-year student Laura Forrest doesn’t seem to mind. “It gives me a nice break,” she says. “If I were taking all five Biology classes, I’d feel overloaded.”

Plus, she simply loves the French language. “And my grandparents spoke it, so I’m trying to bring it back.” But her heart’s set on going further with her studies in biology. “I can definitely picture myself doing biology—probably cellular and molecular.”

It was in second year that Laura decided to major in Biology. “Upon reflection, I’d say my second-year Biology classes interested me more than my second-year Biochemistry classes in general, so I decided to switch,” she says. “It was a combination of taking the Genetics and Cell Biology classes—and knowing what I’d be missing in other biology classes, like Diversity of Life and Transgenic Organisms. They are both SO cool!”

Laura’s honours thesis research involves an aspect of cell biology. She’s looking at GRP-1 associated scaffolding protein (GRASP), a protein “present in natural killer cells, which are part of the immune system,” she explains. “They target cells that have been infected with viruses and cancer.”

Whether she ends up pursuing a PhD in molecular biology or attending medical school, Laura’s thesis subject will be a solid foundation for work she’s hoping to do in the future: she’d like to be involved in research that contributes to finding a cure for cancer. “Or at least a pathway leading to a cure or treatment—but who wouldn’t want to do that?” she says.

In the meantime, she’ll get the most out of her last year at Dal, studying hard and participating on the executive of the Dalhousie Association of Biology Students (DABS). “I love all the resources here,” Laura says. “There’s a food bank in basement of the Student Union Building for students in need, you can buy and sell your textbooks at, there are career services that help you with anything from writing a CV to applying for jobs to mentoring. And you can apply for different sorts of funding for a whole array of societies.”